If you’ve just passed your driving test, you’ll be looking at buying a car and the main consideration is likely to be low running costs. As well as price, you’ll want something reliable that won’t leave you stranded on the side of a road or rack up expensive repair costs.

Buying a car can be a stressful process if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. We’re here to help - here are a few things you may want to consider when you’re buying your first car:

1. Take it on a Test Drive

Make sure you view the car in person so you can see its condition, whether it’s been well-looked after and if you like driving it. You may think that all cars are the same, but different cars have slightly different biting points or buttons in different positions in comparison to the one that you did your driving lessons in.

Also, remember to check if the vehicle you’re buying has a full service history. If they have the paperwork available, it shows that the car has been in good hands and the owner has made regular checks and maintenance. Any gaps in the service history can ring alarm bells and may mean that there’s a higher risk of repairs required in the future.

​2. Consider the Mileage

It doesn’t make sense to buy a car that has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles and doesn’t have much life left in it. Cars with high mileage are likely to be cheaper, but you should try to strike the balance between affordability and high mileage.

Bear in mind that the average mileage for a car per year is 7,900 miles for a privately-owned car so if you’re buying a car that is five years old, for example, you’ll be looking for around 39,500 miles on the odometer. Some cars will have done more, and some will have done less of course, but use that as a ballpark figure.

Ask the previous owner what type of driving they did in the car. If they spent a lot of their time driving on the motorway, it may mean that there’s high mileage, but less wear and tear on the clutch and brakes.

3. Keep the Unavoidable Costs Down

Running a car can be expensive, so make sure you account for the unavoidable costs that come with buying a car. These are:

  • Insurance
  • Tax
  • MOT and Service
  • Fuel

You can choose your car to make sure you save the most money when it comes to the costs of running a car. When you’ve chosen your ideal vehicle, it’s wise to check for its fuel economy and how much it will cost for you to insure and tax the car each year. Some of the factors that affect how much it costs to insure your car include the car’s safety rating, its size and the age of the car.

Buying a car can be a huge life step. It gives you the freedom to embark on road trips, or even enjoy those few extra minutes in bed by driving to work rather than catching public transport. When you’re buying your first car, make sure you find a reliable and cost-effective vehicle to get you from A to B.